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Beauty And Importance…

We woke up today to very sore muscles.

We’ve been living on our 40 acre block of rainforest for the past week and there is so much to do. The wet season approaches.

Our aim is to keep the block as pristine as possible, while working on the few existing cleared patches with permaculture principles. In order to do that, we have to learn the “lay of the land”.

This is something no Google Maps, GPS app, or topography map can tell. It is something learnt by walking the forest daily.

Listening.
Seeing.
Learning.
Remembering.

This is something a lot of modern peoples have forgotten: that land can, and does, speak to you, if you would only listen.

The land speaks not in words, but in sights, sounds and feeling. You learn by treading your feet {preferably not bound up in thick, heavy shoes or boots but in light, simple footwear} over the texture of the ground. Up and down. Rough and soft.

This is something that will take time. Once again, something that most modern peoples are unable {or unwilling} to do. Modern peoples want to rush-rush-rush now-now-now. Answers nownownow. Profit and return nownownow. Quickquickquick.

The blocks surrounding our valley are testimony to that attitude of modern man. Vast swathes of forest cut down and transformed into undulating rows of sugarcane. The destruction of monoculture, raping the earth dry of every last drop of natural nutrients and once that is done, the farmer pours copious amounts of synthetic, man-made, toxic fertilizer.

Why?

Because to do otherwise is slow. To do otherwise is not profit-wise. It is earth-wise. Life-wise. More and more I see that money and life are opposite in function. Or should I say, money can and does create subconscious attitudes that lead to decisions {both small and large scale} that do more to destroy than it does to create.

Money is not real. And it drives 99% of our decisions. What does that tell us?

Only when the last tree has died, the last river has been poisoned
and the last fish has been caught,
will we realize that we can’t eat money.

— Cree Proverb

There is a huge temperature difference inside our block, and outside driving through the cane fields. On a regular 34°C day, it is cool in the forest and sweltering outside. With large-scale deforestation happening all over the world, particularly in tropical regions1, it’s little wonder we are experiencing rapid climate change.

I’ve begun reading the works of Bill Mollison, the man considered to be the “father of permaculture”, starting with his 1991 book, Introduction to Permaculture. We are still waiting on a copy of the definitive text of his, Permaculture: A Designers Manual from the local library.

Let me share a tiny bit of what made my heart sing reading his work:

Permaculture is a design system for creating sustainable human environments. The word itself is a contraction not only of permanent agriculture but also of permanent culture, as cultures cannot survive for long without a sustainable agricultural base and landuse ethic.

It is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labour; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating elements as a single-product system.

I think harmony with nature is possible only if we abandon the idea of superiority over the natural world. Levi Strauss said that our profound error is that we have always looked upon ourselves as “masters of creation”, in the sense of being above it. We are not superior to other life-forms; all living things are an expression of Life. If we could see hat truth, we would see that everything we do to other life-forms we also do to ourselves. A culture which understands this does not, without absolute necessity, destroy any living thing.

A tree is something of value in itself, even if it has no commercial value for us. That it is alive and functioning is what is important.

There is a time for everything,” and it is true.

In my last post, I said that I never even realised that this was a desire, a dream of mine, until it eventuated.

And yet, as always, hindsight provides delightful illumination.

Of course permaculture! Of course! It is completely in line with all of my personal principles and philosophies, even those I haven’t even articulated yet.

Living with one hand in the earth, both physically and spiritually. Living simply, while figuring out how to balance ancient and modern, how to marry the best of both.

I was sitting there this morning, totally sore and bone-tired, savoring my mug of chocolate-coffee that we made using the last drops of gas from our gas bottle {oh petrochemical companies, how to get away from you?} and the daintiest of dragonflies landed on a leaf beside me. As if it was a friend that decided to stop by and say, “Hi there! How you doing today?” And it was so cute and I was so grateful.

At its grace. Its beauty. The randomness.

“Do you see what I see?” I sometimes wonder, when I see tourists wandering along down just another boardwalk or nature trail, with their cameras and commotion. “This forest is beautiful!” “This river is beautiful!” “This tree is beautiful!” “This dragonfly is beautiful!”

What is beauty?

Beauty is a concept.

Is what you are seeing, a concept?
Is what you are appreciating, a concept?

I.e. the forest, the tree,
The dragonfly, for me?

If it is, are we truly being “constructive” to “reality”?
Are we really here?

Or are we, as I believe, just so consumed by our egotic assumptions of knowledge and self-righteousness? “We are so good,” we praise ourselves as we say out loud, “It is so beautiful!” For it must mean that we are respectful of the forest, of the tree. The dragonfly.

Is it?
Are we?

What is beauty? What is importance?
Is my “beauty” the same as your “beauty”?
Is my “important” the same as your “important”?
Does it matter?
How does this impact how we make political, ecological, social issues that impact everyone?
Does it all matter in the end?

I ask myself this everyday.

What do I see?

We must ask this of ourselves every day.

For conceptions, ideas, limited truths, and spiritual truths have no more reality than have matter or phenomena.

— The Diamond Sutra, Chapter 31

Every other day, we drive into our nearby township of Mossman and there, we are confronted by the realities of the modern way of life. The sugar mill chugs away merrily. Cane trains still haul truckloads of cane to the mill. I still add sugar into my coffee in the morning. We still pay for petrol for our ute. It’s plastic that forms the boxes that store our belongings.

Concept and reality. Ideal and real.

Why oh why must there always be such a disjunct?
Or is the disjunct only in our minds? {it is, I believe, always just in our minds}

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow

[...]

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow

— T. S. Eliot, The Hollow Men

1 Bala, G., K Caldeira, M Wickett, TJ Phillips, DB Lobell, C Delire, A Mirin (2007) Combined climate and carbon-cycle effects of large-scale deforestation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104, 6550-6555. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0608998104

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Path Of The Wayless…

I opened my eyes to my second morning in our very own far North Queensland tropical rainforest lot.

A possum decided to check us out last night as we went to bed. We heard it treading and snuffling methodically around the perimeter of our tent and, at some point in the middle of the night, it must have climbed up the nearest tree, sighted our tent down its dick and sprayed our entire fly sheet with possum pee.

Possums have incredible aim.

There once was a possum on my ghost tour route {yes, I was once a ghost tour guide. loved it.} who aimed with incredible precision at specific tourists standing away from the tree in which it lived and doused them full with rank, thick piss. It was like rain, one unfortunate victim claimed.

Anyway. I digress.

The smell of lush wilderness filled my nostrils as I stepped out of our tent and stretched.

Our nearest neighbors are over a hundred meters away to either side of us. At our backs, we have the whole of the Daintree National Park to explore. At our leisure.

There’s no house. No amenities. No running water. No electricity. The “driveway” was so overgrown with grass, weeds and secondary forest that we had to “mow” it down with our bullbar to get through. The ground beneath is so torn up by feral pigs and flood that it feels like a full on 4WD experience every time we drive through.

All we have is the earth beneath our feet and the green canopy above our heads, and we feel rich as kings.

We pitched our tent in a clearing that was already there. We set up a temporary camp kitchen a distance away with our little gas bottle. As the creeks aren’t running in the dry, we hauled water from Mossman and took showers with a pail and pot in hand under the stars.

Basic, rustic, simple living.

It was always a dream of mine.

Only thing is, I never knew I had it.

Until it came true.
Fell in my lap like gold from the sky. {kuh-thunk!}

Unknown, unrealised, even to myself.

What does that say about dreams?
What does that say about what’s “right” and what’s “wrong” for us?
What does that say about what we know about what we want?
What we think we know?
Do we know?
Do we even need to know?

The relationship between knowing and surrender.
Between conscious willing and superconscious creation.

Willing is doing something you know already, something you have been told by somebody else; there is no new imaginative understanding in it. [...] People by “will” do remarkable things. But this is for soldiers and money-grubbers who are committed to all sorts of evil that their imagination and love tells them is horrible and senseless.
— Brenda Ueland, If You Want To Write

Now that I am here, I can look back at my life and realise that this yearning, this dream, this wish and desire, had always been there. Silent. Invisible. In the background of the background of the turmoil of my life.

I always thought I was aware.
I always thought I knew what I wanted.
I always thought I was so sure.

I am the proverbial Pilgrim who, seeking Wisdom and Truth, left and went on a Journey around the World, only to return Home and realise that It was always Here.

In my Heart.
In my Spirit.

Not my head. {oh most definitely not!}

Clara sometimes asks me if I dream.
“Of course I dream”, I tell her. “Everybody dreams”.
“But what do you dream about?”, she’ll ask.
“The same thing everybody dreams about”, I tell her. “I dream about where I’m going.”
She always laughs at that. “But you’re not going anywhere, you’re just wandering about.”

That’s not true. Not anymore. I have a new destination. My journey is the same as yours, the same as anyone’s. It’s taken me so many years, so many lifetimes, but at last I know where I’m going. Where I’ve always been going.

Home. The long way around.
The Eleventh Doctor, The Day of the Doctor

“Home is where the heart is,” it is said, and I suppose that is true, in so many ways.

Heart. Spirit. Soul. The unknowable.

I would never have found, never been given, never created, this dream if I didn’t give it all up just over three months ago.

Give what up?

What I thought I knew.
What I thought I wanted.
{I crucified Certainty to a random tree on the road and left it hanging there. bleeding. dull vacant eyes staring as I drove off.}

To go on a journey to nowhere {no destination besides north} with nothing. With no more than a ute, a tent and a man I love.

The Wayless Way, where the Sons of God lose themselves and, at the same time, find themselves.
— Meister Eckhart

I find it very apt that I now live in Australia and Australia is where all this has happened to me.

Aboriginal Creation myths tell of the legendary totemic beings who had wandered over the continent in the Dreamtime, singing out the name of everything that crossed their path — birds, animals, plants, rocks, waterholes – and so singing the world into existence. [...] By singing the world into existence, [Arkady] said, the Ancestors had been poets in the original sense ‘oipoesis’, meaning ‘creation’.
— Bruce Chatwin, The Songlines

Long roads we drove.

And along these long roads, we sang our dream. Not in melody or in song, the way you listen to music.

We sang our dream by speaking of it, sharing it with one another. Our hopes. Our ideas. Possibilities.
And in singing so, we must have sung it into being. Created it. With our very being.
Resonance.

For in singing, or speaking {ah! the Primordial Word}, the dream, we create it from within. We live the dream within and we create it. By entertaining no other thought but the dream, we create it.

Even if we do not know what the dream is in concrete form. In finished form.

Where is the destination?
Where do we go?
What do we do to “actualise” this dream?

We do not know.
We do not know the concrete steps.
There were none.

This is the path of the Wayless Way.
The absolute surrender to Nothing.

The full cannot receive
So full of themselves, the fools.
The empty are ready
So Fools they are called, by the full.
And Fools they are
Stepping into thin air
Only in the leap from the lion’s head
The Path appears.

Creation begins Within
Within Wordless
Formless.

Word is Creating
Giving Shape
Without shape.

Then comes Creation
Again.
This time without
For the work within
Is done.

Arrival in Reality.
Begin again
The journey
Of Creation.

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Risk Of The Dream…

A huge opportunity has arisen
For the both of us.

We have been asking for a lot
For some time.

We asked for many things
And we didn’t know how we were going to get them.
We didn’t even know how they would {could!} come together.
Fit together
Like pieces of a giant jigsaw.

But we just let it go
And asked anyway.
A daydream, we called it,
A wet dream.

We never knew if it would ever be fulfilled
All we had were our dreams {tender}
We lived them in our heads
Delightfully
Painfully.

Now the opportunity has arisen
In such form we could not have conceived.
It has all come together {stars colliding}
In such form befitting
Union of wet dream and limited means
Making the impossible possible.

I find myself rejoicing
I am happy.
Yet I find myself fearful
I am unhappy.

Why?

Because dreams can’t come true, can they?
Dreams don’t come true.
Do they?
Do they?
Do they really?
Can they?

It’s funny how you can discover you never believed in anything you said.
Or at least, not in the way you thought.
It’s funny how faith can be tested in the strangest of ways.
Not in the taking, but in the giving.

What do I believe in?
Do I believe that good things happen?
Do I believe that good things can happen to me? And stay?
Can I believe that this is not a trick? This is not a fakery?
Can I?
Dare I?

Because the second greatest gift I’ve ever received has turned into some sort of a test for me.
Do I dare open my heart to trust in the giving of this great, great gift
Of a dream possibly to come true?
Or will I risk throwing it all away by closing my heart and eyes and saying,
No, this is a fake. This can’t be real. This won’t stay. This won’t be.

What I receive is what I create
What I put out is what I create
I can change reality {easily done, it is the choice that is tough}

What do I want now?
I have been given my dream.
It is still in the making, of course.
It is still cooking, still waiting.
But it is here.
It is before me.

Solid.
I have smelt it.
I have walked on its earthen floors.
I have felt the rainforest walls.
Stood under the verdant canopy. The sunlight filtering down.
The steamy air filling my nostrils.
The wompoo pigeon wompooing.
The feral pig wallows glisten thickly with fresh mud.
I am home.

I never knew I never believed
In the way I thought I did
I should {shoulds, what are they? they should be shot, shoulds}
I never knew I never believed
Yet I was given
Tears arise in my eyes
I fall to my knees
Gratitude
Humility

If I fear now, I will push everything away
If I accept, I must submit to the full force of my creation.
I must submit and give myself to It.

Because this represents a huge change
For the both of us.
A huge leap.
I ask myself, “Are you ready for this?”
And I reply, “I don’t know.”
And that’s the way it should be.

My heart sings:

“All you know
Is you gotta go
You can’t let yourself down
By saying no.

All you know
Is you’ll try your best
And that is all
You can ask of yourself.”

I’ve always leapt headlong
Into the risk of the dream.
Done it so many times before
Leaping headlong {fears and all!}
Into the risk of the dream.

North, south, west and east again
And now this, the biggest yet.
Yet it always feels that way
It is always new.

My spirit sings:

“When you ask
And the Universe provides
It expects you to give
In return
Of your all
Your everything.
To grow
To stretch
To change
Transform
In devotion to the Now
You create.

Ask and it is given
But you must be ready.
Take it as you are
And not as you were.

Be free!
Be brave!
Be hesitant but
Leap in the end.
Leap from the lion’s head
And take ahold of your hopes
Your dream.

For as you know.
You never know
Till you go.”

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The Universe Helps…

I’ve never been religious. I was brought up in a sort-of-Buddhist background. I was taught to recite the Na Mo Yao Shi Liu Li Guang Ru Lai and Om Mani Padme Hum mantras, but even as a child, I had problems believing in invisible beings in the sky that you call to in times of worry and trouble.

I remember asking my mother once, “What if a lot, a lot of people ask for help at the same time? Won’t the bodhisattva get too busy to help everyone?” Her response was something along the lines of the bodhisattva is omnipotent and omnipresent. He can help everyone.

I gave up on religion very early, before I was even ten.

However I never lost my faith.

What is faith?

I read David Suelo’s recent blog post on faith and found myself agreeing with what he had to say about it. Here are a few pertinent extracts:

Faith is the essence of not just religion and spirituality [...], but that faith is the essence and foundation of science. Not only that, I will go so far as to say that faith is the essence and foundation of all life and all existence!

Faith is synonymous with courage.

Faith does not care what you call it. If you can pinpoint and name what you have faith in, it wouldn’t be faith.

Faith is resting in the unknown, in what the eye cannot see, what the ear cannot hear, what can’t even enter into the human mind!

What you have faith in cannot exist in the mind. You cannot think it. Thus, even that word “God” and all conceptions of God must ultimately be crucified, banished, as your own mind will most certainly die some day, along with all its conceptions. Any conception of God you think you have faith in is an idol, an illusion, a creation of your own mind.

If you do not have faith in the unknown, nothing you do can be new. That means, if you do not have faith in the unknown, nothing you do can be creative. If you replicate what you already know, you can only imitate, not create. Only by faith can you be creative. Without faith, you can only imitate. Without faith, you can only be a machine, reproducing cookie-cutter images, with zero creativity. Without faith, there can be no life, only soul-less machinery.

I have faith but I cannot tell you what I have faith in.

Out of the sheer need for a label for human communication’s sake, I choose to use the word “Universe” but it means nothing. It is just a meaningless, useless word, a placeholder {so inadequate!} to signify the mystical, wondrous order-in-chaos-in-order of All Life-And-Being.

It is a wordless experience. One that cannot be described. I have faith in It, if it is an it. Singular or plural? Who knows?

I have no words to describe it with but I do know that I have felt its powerful hand at work in my life, always and especially in times of worry, trouble and need.

I was always a controlling one. I wanted to control everything in my life. What’s worse, I always wanted everything nownowNOW! I was spoilt, unlearned, impatient. Ignorant in the worst of ways.

I wanted things my way and I would trust no other to do what I wanted. To some degree, I haven’t changed but there is a good and bad way to be obstinate.

I was bad.

I was so bad, I wouldn’t let the omnipotent, omnipresent Universe provide, for whatever the Great All That Is provides takes time to cook, to show, to arrive. Providence is never a genie-in-a-bottle snap-of-the-finger your-wish-is-my-command trick.

It is slow. Oh, is it slow. And ponderous. And gentle. And invisible. And nightmarish for us the impatient, untrusting, faithless.

On this trip, I threw away everything that I was before and embraced the Nothing. Nothing in my heart, nothing in my head, nothing in my hands, I travelled.

Come on, look at me! No plan, no backup, no weapons worth a damn, oh, and something else I don’t have: anything to lose!”
— Eleventh Doctor, The Pandorica Opens

No plan. Yup that’s for sure. Didn’t know where we were going half the time.

And did we get stuck. Oh, yes, we got stuck a few times.

There was the one time we were making our way up from Camooweal to the Boodjamulla National Park in our trusty little blue 2WD Holden Rodeo ute that we lovingly dubbed “The TARDIS” and we ran right into a patch of impassable bulldust. I mean, an ocean of bulldust. Knee-deep, finer than talcum powder and over 50 meters long. We. Were. Stuck.

Strapped for cash, the sun was setting and the only way around was a looong way around that would have taken us half the night at least and cost us the small fortune we couldn’t afford to spend.

There was a shorter route but not having been there before, we had no idea if it would have more bulldust patches like this one and there was the danger also of not being able to see them at night. Being in a 2WD, we could not afford to run into one of these.

Demoralised? You betcha. Yet we didn’t have a choice. So we got back in the ute and started making our way back when in the distance, another ute showed up.

We slowed to let it pass but the driver, an elderly Aboriginal man, pulled to a stop beside us. He asked us if we were alright and we explained our situation. He told us that the shorter route was a good road and advised us to take it as it would be suitable for our 2WD all the way up to Gregory Downs. We were so grateful. He really saved our butts, and our wallets.

We never met him again.

He was one of several Angels that we met. Always, when we needed just that little bit of help, even that little bit of a perk-up in morale or even a little good company, someone would show up.

Providence? Definitely.

Faith is believing in the unknown, believing that a good heart and genuine humble intent is all we need to make our way in this ofttimes confusing world.

Faith is knowing that you do not have to know the form or mode of the solution that you need for it to arrive. You do not have to know the how, or where. And you definitely have to learn to leave your hands off the when!

Slow. Patient. Faith.

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Prejudice…

You can’t control what people think of you.

Prejudice is alive and well in the world.

When you’re a younger Asian woman with an older white Australian man, the prejudice comes hard and fast.

I had two choices on this trip.

Get angry. Or roll with it.

I’ve written about anger and helplessness already. However, in some situations, the answer is a lot more obvious and easier to execute.

In the Bible, Jesus supposedly said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” In a way, that is very true, for people who operate out of a default programming without ever questioning the veracity of their thoughts truly know not what they do.

For they do not think about what they do.

They are automatons, automatically carrying out the thoughts, words and actions of others that have been programmed into them without question.

Without independent thought.

The first rule of independent thought is We Know Not. Or as often quoted as the Socratic paradox, I Know That I Know Nothing.

Nothing is certain.

Just because there is a younger Asian woman with an older white man doesn’t necessarily mean that we are the stereotype.

There was a man at Mourilyan that gestured at me as a “brought over wife”. We had a older French man harass us one morning as we were trying to pack up, saying things like, “Oh, it is so convenient to have a younger woman do things for you! Can you find me another little friend too? She is so energetic!” As he positioned his chair right in front of our camp site with his coffee, as though to watch a show, and laugh and laugh and laugh as we tried to hurry packing just to get away.

Other white Australians, assuming that I was an import from some non-English country like Thailand or Philippines, did not even bother to speak to me while speaking to Colin, even as I was standing right there, right beside him, in front of them. They didn’t even bother looking at me. It was as good as I wasn’t there.

And if I chose to speak up, in clear and perfect English, they would startle like a spooked horse, stammer out some lame reply as they are forced to interact with me at last, and then proceed to ignore me all the more studiously.

Because I proved their misconceptions wrong.

And I embarrassed them.

Obviously it is better for them to continue to ignore the source of their shame.

I have had older white Australian women openly glare at me from across the street. Apparently, I discovered that their assumption that I had purposefully destroyed a happy white Australian family for my own Asian gain, i.e. a permanent resident visa, following which they fully expect me to dump my convenient white Australian male and go on my merry way.

I have spoken with other older white Australian men who have gone to Thailand and Philippines in order to bring back young, and I mean very young, Asian brides, and I have heard many stories of Asian women who promptly divorce their white benefactors as soon as they are able.

To these women, coming from the disadvantaged backgrounds as they do, poverty and often times prostitution, these men are but a means to an end. A business decision. I understand.

But inevitably, that is the image that is now created and reinforced and thus, odd couples like Colin and myself have to bear the brunt of these assumptions.

Another older woman working at the checkout counter at Woolworths refused to speak or even look at us as she processed our groceries. Another woman addressed only Colin at Caltex and handed my change to him.

Through it all, I have decided that I have to shrug and let it wash off my back. Not that I’m saintly, no not at all. I was angry initially. The first couple of days, I even tried speaking up intentionally.

No point.

There is no point trying to change prejudice in the minds of people who do not want to change. Not even to show that they have prejudice.

There is definitely no point in wasting my time, energy and health on bullshit.

Be stoic about it, I told myself. Well, I try to be, anyway. It still stings. I’m not sure if it’ll ever stop stinging.

It is hard to stand on one side and be treated as a nothing, right in your face. Or to be treated like a villain.

Yet in this particular situation, I choose the downstream course.

Idiots will be idiots, and there’s nothing I can do about it, nor should I want to. It’s not my responsibility. It is every person’s own responsibility how they choose to interpret what they encounter in the world.

I just walk away and we focus on enjoying our day instead.

Not everyone has been unpleasant of course but they are far and few in between. I can count them with my fingers during the course of these three months.

I met a nice Dutch lady who was in the situation in reverse. She was an older woman in her forties and she was with a younger man in either his late twenties or early thirties. We laughed and joked about the prejudices we’d faced. She admitted that they encounter it both at home and overseas and that it is unavoidable.

As long as you are not in the norm, you will be a target for prejudices. As long as you are not in the norm, people can and will assume that there must be something wrong with you, or what you are doing, or what is happening.

Seeing as being different seems to be the main theme of every aspect of my life, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.

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Why I Write…

I do this for many reasons – I’m a personal blogger so this stuff just comes naturally to me now. I do it to purge. To explain. To help. To howl. To expunge my hideous feelings out there into the universe via this strange medium called “the internet.”
— Eden Riley, What To Do When People Are Mean

I started blogging back when there wasn’t any blogging software to speak of. It was around the mid-1990s. I was in my teens. WordPress didn’t exist yet and neither did Blogger.

I was a member of GeoCities and I had a primitive web page in one of the “cities”. Either SunsetStrip or SoHo, I think it was. I had no idea any of the “cities” and “neighborhoods” had a theme, so I think I just either picked one at random or picked the only one with a name I thought I liked.

I heard of this thing called “weblogging” and wanted to try it out. I knew that it was essentially a web page of journal entries in reverse chronological order.

I’d kept diaries on and off since childhood {usually burning or destroying them within a few months or so, looks like things haven’t changed much} and so wanted to try this newfangled thing.

I’d taught myself a bit of HTML and proceeded to manually hand-code entries every day. It was painstaking. Fugly. But I didn’t mind.

Fast forward to the mid-2000s. By this time, I’m largely housebound as the result of dengue hemorrhagic fever “induced” chronic fatigue syndrome. I’d been forced to quit my Bachelor in Science and the unofficial prognosis is: I don’t know if I’ll ever recover. {Many people don’t recover from chronic fatigue. Some lucky ones do. I count myself as one of those lucky ones today.}

I wanted to be “of use” somehow. I wanted to have some “purpose” somehow. Unable to leave the house on a regular basis, a “normal” job, heck, or even life, was impossible. So I turned to the internet.

I’d stumbled across the concept of internet entrepreneurship before and wanted to see if I could make a go of it. I turned to blogging.

Thus began nearly a decade of incredible misery, hell and illumination. Thousands of dollars spent and lost. Many decisions I should not have made but did so in my state of desperation to find meaning, focus, identity and purpose.

Through it all, I wrote and wrote and wrote. I do not know how many iterations of my blog I have destroyed at this domain. My name. I don’t even know how many iterations I’ve had.

By the time this decade of trial, error and countless failures was drawing to a close, one thing was made painfully clear.

I had thought that I was seeking to build a business.

I was instead seeking myself.

I was an excavator seeking lost treasure and I used words and experiments built around words to dig my way past layers and layers of falseness built over years and years of familial, social and cultural programming. Fears and hopes that never belonged to me, never originated from me, built up like caked mud around my nexus, my spiritual core.

I had so much fear. So many fear-based conditionings and it showed through my writing. I was never free-flowing in my writing. I was always structured in a very censored way. Always watching what I was saying, always fearing criticisms, judgements, attacks. I lived my life in a constant state of flinch.

But the one thing I had, my one redeeming grace, was the will to seek and I was always willing to face that flinch, {no, haven’t read the book, no, probably don’t need to read it, yes, it’ll probably be a good read anyway}, willing to risk all and fail {however humiliatingly to the outside world, yes, I am very self-conscious} to seek what was blocking me.

And through it all I write.

On this journey over the past three months, I learnt that I needed no purpose, no direction, no reason to be to be happy.

I learnt that I could sit in my simple tent, with nothing in my hands, nothing on my mind, just savoring the wind and the birds and the sweet scent of the forest around me and be content, intoxicatingly blissful and whole.

I realised that my hunt for meaning, purpose and identity had been my shackles, my prison and my poison all along.

I still need money, though, but at least those two conundrums have been unentangled. Having them entangled is the worst hell ever.

Then as the weeks went on, I found myself articulating words in my mind. I was still saying things to myself. I was still describing the world and my experience to myself.

I was speaking but I realised that I wasn’t speaking to me per se.

I was speaking as an act of living.

I realised then, that money or no money, purpose or no purpose, reason for being or no… I am still a writer.

I am a writer. I’m probably a speaker too but I haven’t gotten there yet. One thing at a time.

So now I write as an act of speaking to the world. Not the world of people per se, no. Not so that any particular person, or even tribe of persons will hear or listen no.

I speak and I write as an act of being.

This is my description of my life. No, my perception of my life. My ever-changing, ever-shifting, ever-evolving perception of my life as a human. In a human’s body.

Almost like an observer and experiencer in one. Which I am.

One thing I like though, is that my principles haven’t really changed at all over all these years. In fact, my failures have really proven to me that my principles are essentially the core of me.

Courage. Fearlessness, really.
Honesty. Raw, harsh, blatant.
Willingness to be wrong. To risk all to know, for myself. To follow no one. To know thyself, thyself.

I still challenge any and all perceptions of life, even and especially my own, on a constant basis.

I ask why, and always continue to ask why afterwards. Because no state is permanent and we know not.

Yet, the irony is, even as I no longer seek Self as a mission, I cannot escape that inevitability because I suspect that is part of why We Are Here.

Life is an exploration of possibility.

Life is Universe experiencing ItSelf.

We are discovering Ourselves even as we are Experiencing.

So the seeking is inevitable.

I am unorthodox and I polarise people and I swear and I am a mouthy, obnoxious, arrogant, selfish, self-centred person AND I DOUBLE DIP AND DRINK THE JUICE STRAIGHT OUT OF THE BOTTLE IN FRONT OF MY KIDS WHO LAUGH AND IT DRIVES MY HUSBAND CRAZY. [...] I will not be silenced on this I will not. Because I go up and down and around and sometimes I get clarity and think to myself, wow, my words can sometimes help people.
— Eden Riley, What To Do When People Are Mean

And you know what? Through it all, there has been one blog that I’ve never stopped reading and one blogger who has always given me hope and made me feel less alone in the Universe.

Thank you Eden Riley.

Your words have always been an inspiration. Your style of writing {you would say there is no style, perhaps}, your honesty, your courage, your real-ness. {You’ve gotten me interested in slam poetry too!}

Yes, your words have helped people. And I am but one.

If writing to speak the words that describe my experience of life is my primary reason for writing, you are my very important second.

Thank you.

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Anger…

Anger is a sign of helplessness.

When I feel anger in my gut, I know it is an indication that I feel helplessness and victimhood in any particular situation.

The question, therefore, is, “What is the proactive, constructive action to take?”

However, sometimes, there is no immediate or obvious answer to that.

Any choice or action that leads to the compromise of my sense of self, principles and identity is currently untenable. And yet, I must also always remain aware and vigilant, that no state is immutable. And so sense of self, principles and identity is mutable and can change.

It is all a matter of choice.

I had another amazingly invigorating conversation with another fellow traveller yesterday. He’s nearly 40 years older than I am and has lived in so many different countries and has done so many different lines of work. Oh, the stories he had to tell.

The three of us chatted at length about a whole plethora of topics, from politics to religion, quantum mechanical topics like the holographic principle to atrocities like the treatment of First Nations peoples everywhere, genealogy, autism and Asperger’s Syndrome, the dominion of petrochemical companies and the threat of fracking in Australia impacting this country’s most precious resource: water, and so much more.

During the course of our conversation, we got to talking about Asperger’s Syndrome and he noted that he himself has wondered if he “had a bit of Asperger’s” in him as well, for he has observed certain similarities between himself and some Aspergian traits, like social difficulties and interest in specific topics.

He and Colin both agreed, however, that they have managed to learn how to “blend in” better with age, and our comrade even remarked that not only has he learnt to do “small talk”, he has even learnt to enjoy it!

I find it hard to imagine that for myself but I also have to remember that we are all different and even amongst people with Asperger’s traits, that doesn’t mean that we are all alike.

Heterogeneity of traits expression dictates that no two Asperger’s individuals are alike in any way but in the broadest sense. In specifics of day-to-day and even moment-to-moment function, we could not be more unalike.

We went back to our tent afterwards and over dinner, I had a good long think about what I’d learnt about myself during this conversation.

I’d known and observed from a very young age that I was different in more ways than I can count from the majority of people around me.

I used to assume that it was just the Singaporean or even Asian culture that I disliked but having lived over a decade now in white Australia, I have come to realise that it is not a racial or even a cultural thing.

Something in my inherent mental, emotional and spiritual make-up, my hardware and operating system, is different from 99% of the people around me. And it is obvious.

It was obvious enough for our new acquaintance to point out, that it was obvious that I was highly intelligent and different. And it was meant as a compliment and I was grateful for this rare occurrence.

To be seen. To be accepted. As what I am.

Different was a matter of course. Different was not a threat, was not a bad thing. It just was.

It was probably because he is obviously himself a very different person and it is obvious from his life that he has always been and lived this way.

It takes one to know one. Just like Colin.

Yet I wonder, will I ever “blend in”? Do I even want to? Should I even want to?

Logically speaking, blending in may allow me more benefits and convenience in this world. However, every time I find myself dwelling on that seductive possibility, I am always slapped awake by the reality that I’ve spent now nearly 35 years of my life trying to blend in, in every possible way and combination that I have learnt, tried and even invented. And I have failed.

I did not want to fail.

Thus I feel helplessness. And thus anger. Rage, even, and should that be surprising?

Why should I have to be the one to make all the concessions, and at such a high mental and emotional price, for the sake of the undifferent, cookie-cutter majority? For their comfort?

Does my comfort not matter? Or are we supposed to always make concessions and compromises for the majority?

Do the minorities not matter?

Why do the majority judge by their shallow standards of normality and who gives them the right to deny the minorities their basic rights of existence, like employment, income, housing etc. just because they are different?

I speak not only for the autistic and Asperger’s community, but also for other minorities. And sometimes, they are not even minorities. The concept of minority comes from the concept of different. Because it is not seen as much. Because it is not spoken of. Because it is not commonly accepted as mainstream. Thus is is a conceptual minority, and not a minority in real numbers and percentages.

What is the right action to take here?

My mind works differently. I know that to be a fact now.

My operating system is different from the majority of people I meet, and that means that I process all incoming data streams differently and therefore I perceive differently and that comes out through my conversation and my responses to their conversation.

I cannot control that.

Can you reinstall your operating system?

I have worked hard all these years to at least understand my operating system and I can now say that I understand it more than ever, however that unfortunately does not give me the power to understand how the majority’s operating system works.

Can a cow speak cat? Can you teach it? Can it learn?

What do I do? I do not know. I know now though that it is definitely more healthy and more empowering for myself to take pride in who and what I am than it is to constantly spend time and energy wondering how I can be more like other people or what can’t I be more like other people.

This is not the right choice. It is just a choice. Like any other choice, it has its upsides and it has its downsides. Yet it is what I choose because the alternative is not only untenable to me, I have proven it unrealistic.

So, anger. So, wondering. And waiting. Waiting for the years to pass, that I may garner more life experience and one day, be able to understand. Why I have made my choice.

The Oracle: We can never see past the choices we don’t understand.
Neo: Are you saying I have to choose whether Trinity lives or dies?
The Oracle: No, you’ve already made the choice. Now you have to understand it.
— The Matrix

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Quiet Ones…

It’s the school holidays. The caravan parks are filling up with people. Families with children. Tourists catching the last weeks of the dry and tourist season, before the rains set in. There have been scattered showers, and the locals talk of an early build up to the wet season.

The city folks bring their city chaos into the peace of the country and wilderness. They do not understand peace.

They do not understand that there are people who wish to wake up to the sound of the birds and the wind, and not listen to them discuss how much their properties cost, “Oh, we got three, one for 1.8, the other two for 2 and 2.3,” or how they never catch barramundi under a metre long no matter where they fish in the top end.

A pack of four huge 4WDs pulled in the other night, blocked half the exit, and promptly cracked open their beers. One proceeded to give his son a loud and public dressing down about how boys cannot lose to girls in swimming.

Someone thought it a grand idea to start playing his accordion at 9 pm.

We walked into a shop at Port Douglas on Wednesday. There was a rack of pretty dresses on sale and I wanted to try some on. We had a chat with the lovely lady owner, a far north Queensland country local. She exclaimed, “I am so SICK of all these PEOPLE! I can’t wait for my week to be over!”

The caretaker here at the caravan park said, “I like my peace and quiet. But some people just don’t understand that others like peace and quiet.”

Why do city and town people travel to the country, the outback and into nature? Apparently, it is not for the solitude and the quiet.

You can drive into a camp site and tell, at a glance, who is here for the peace and quiet, and who is not.

We quiet ones tend to camp waaay up the end or in the out-of-sight corners, away from all the amenities and away from everyone. Inconvenience is a blessing.

We quiet ones respect each others’ personal space and more importantly, we understand that personal space in the country means being as far away from one another as reasonably possible.

We quiet ones play our music and watch our videos just loud enough for our ears only. We speak and laugh softly in our tents, because we understand that no one else needs to be bothered by the topics of our conversation.

We quiet ones minimise our footprint. We only use as much space as we need and respect that space is not to be hogged, just because it is there. There is space for use and there is space for space’s sake.

We quiet ones also minimise our light output. We understand that some people retire at 8 pm and they do not need to be blinded in their sleep by a ginormous rack of the highest powered lamps that Bunnings can stock, just because there are a few snakes around.

We quiet ones do not conduct Skype conversations on speakers at full volume deep into the night for the whole camp site to listen in to.

We also do not stare into each other’s tents and caravans as we walk past.

I could go on, but I will not.

We had to move our tent today. We got tired of being woken up at 5:30 am by people yelling, I mean talking, at the top of their voices. We had a day-long migraine yesterday that paracetamol could not relieve.

We were not alone.

There was a lone guy in his little campervan who had a really cool setup with shade cloth for privacy all around. He packed up and disappeared two days ago, as soon as the holiday makers moved in.

We never spoke. We didn’t even ask each others’ names. But we were silent, unspoken friends of silence in the sea of city pollution. We respected each others’ space and we knew it, and appreciated it.

It was lonely after he left.

Lonely in a sea of chaos. An ocean of noise makers. People who have to talk because they do not understand the value of silence.

We quiet ones, we can sit side by side without saying a word, and that can be more meaningful than any words could express.

We sit in the tent in companionable silence. Then the friar bird starts doing his broken hiccupy song and we both laugh. The cows bellow in the distance and we look up at the same time to watch the cattle egret flap after its wayward moo machine.

All quiet ones are the same. We need nothing to be content. No sound, bar what nature provides. What is sound? What is noise? What is chaos? What is peace?

Perhaps the definition differs from person to person but for me, I know that I find no peace in the human sound.

“So much mental traffic in the universe. Solitude is the only peace.”
— Doctor Who, The Twelfth Doctor, Time Heist

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Different, Yet Still The Same…

Can a person change and change and change, and still remain, in essence, the same person?

I think, yes.

I’m thinking in terms of myself, of course. I have seen myself change drastically over the years, and very rapidly as well, in my personal quest for discovery and self-understanding. My motto has always been You Don’t Know, Till You Go. Or try.

How am I to know if something is right or good for me, or not, until I am there and living it and knowing it? I cannot trust and rely on the word of other people because how are they to know what’s right and what’s not for me? They are not I. We only perceive through our own inner lenses of bias. Thus we can only know for ourselves and the only way to know is to take the risk and leap into that unknown.

A really simple case in point: I never knew that I don’t take to life on a boat until I actually tried it for over a month. Not that I’d ever thought about it before but when the opportunity arose, I said yes because I wouldn’t know if it is a viable option until I try it.

Plus you never know what you may learn and I learnt a lot on that boat. I learnt how to fish. I learnt how to kill a fish swiftly and humanely, and I learnt how to gut and prepare a fish too, small or large.

I have had people I know tell me, “You’ve changed a lot!” and it is true. My quest is always liberation from inner limitations as well as being more true to who and what I know and choose to be. And towards that goal, I have seen myself change as swiftly as within a couple of weeks, or even days. As soon as I realise a limitation, I let it go, or know it is to go. As soon as I see a falseness, I see that I have a choice to make to recreate myself in what I desire to be, or at least, what I think I desire to be. Then once again, it is a You Don’t Know, Till You Go situation.

For sometimes we don’t know what we want to be and the only way to know is to explore, experiment. Dare to embrace a different way of being, thinking, doing, until you know for bloody sure: This is me, or This is not me.

I went to Melbourne to try to embrace the modern entrepreneurial lifestyle for nearly a year. Until that point, I’d never truly immersed myself in it because I’d never been in the right location. When I made the decision to go, I knew it was a gamble. I’d never lived there before, I knew no one there. I had no networks, no friends and I was strapped for cash.

What I learnt is that living in a crowded, metropolitan environment is not for me. Socialising is not for me. But these revelations raised more questions than they answered.

If those are not for me, then what is? That is the question. What then? What is it that I want? What is it that I need? What is it that I crave?

Thus at the end of that time, when things became really obvious that the entrepreneurial lifestyle and pursuit is not for me, another opportunity came up.

To drive from the south to the north of inland outback Australia with nothing more than a tent and less than $7,500 to my name.

Most people wouldn’t do that. Yet I also know that we are guided, in a really bizarre, uncontrollable way. There is no right or wrong here. There is only the opportunity and the choice and what you want to make of that choice.

So I took that gamble again and thus began the most joyous three months of my life. I’ve never spent less, ate healthier, slept sweeter and felt more at peace with myself.

I’ve changed yet again and yet am I a different person or am I essentially the same person on the same journey?

External appearances, including behavior and words, are so deceiving. If I were to meet some acquaintances from even a few months back, they would say that I have changed and I have! Yet I am the same.

The essential core of me is the same. The quest for knowing Self is the same. The quest for being True to Self is the same.

I am a risk-taker, a gambler towards Knowing of Self. Truly I have found my Pearl of Great Value and I have sold everything I owned to “buy” it. Yet that parable is wrong. You do not buy truth. You cannot acquire it via outside means, from someone else, even through someone else’s guidance, or wisdom, or even good will or best intentions of love or care.

The Pearl is a Hidden thing, a personal thing. It’s not even a thing. It is a step-by-step process, literally. Every step you take is the step you take to, or away, from the Pearl, and we all have to take steps to and away for that is our way of knowing which is the Way.

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Away We Go…

We’re leaving tomorrow. The boat, as fortuitous a free pit stop as it has been for the past five weeks for us, has become confining and claustrophobic. We started getting cabin fever about a week ago but delayed departure because we were hoping to hang in there and save some cash.

However, that approach has never worked and quite possibly, will never work because we have learnt the hard way that when we force ourselves to stay in a place we no longer want to be at, we only end up making ourselves physically, mentally and emotionally sick.

We spend more money on distractions like snacks, and we eat more, which makes us more sick from eating beyond our bodies natural needs.

Here on the boat, where going ashore meant spending precious extra money for fuel for the tinny, we ended up trying to stay on the boat for days. Confined to a cabin space that’s 2 metres long, 2 metres wide and just over 1.5 metres high, in which 75% of the space is taken up by the two single bunk beds on either side, we grew tense, moody and lethargic.

The boat has a relatively large deck up top, however it has been blowing almost every day of our stay here and sitting in constant strong wind is extremely exhausting. You literally feel like you’ve been blown to bits after a couple of days.

During this trip, we basically went with the flow of our intuition. We learnt very quickly that following our intuition leads to good things, and not following our intuition leads to not-so-good situations. Once again, the logic-less path was the way to go, for we were rarely able to consciously articulate why we decided to go one way or the next, until we arrived there and learnt why.

We are also fortunate in that we are incredibly in sync with one another, and are thus able to move to the same flow, instead of conflicting. Most of the time, one will say something like, “I feel like we should…” and the other will reply, “I was just about to say exactly the same thing!” It’s a blessing I give thanks for every day.

We felt the intuitive call to move on two weeks ago. I like to say that we receive an ‘early warning’ and then we have an indeterminate ‘grace period’ in which we have time and space to be flexible about following the call. Once the grace period is past, however, stronger and more unpleasant signals tend to start, saying, “Time’s up!”

I personally believe that this rule of thumb is pretty universal for everyone, however, not everyone’s learnt to detect intuitive signals, much less how to understand and interpret them. And we’re definitely not taught to obey them! Quite to the contrary in fact!

Today, we woke up to yet another shitty morning and we both knew this was it. This was as much as we could take. Though neither of us said anything.

Then Colin suggested tossing a coin. I dug around for one and came back up with a $2 gold coin and he laughed. “That’s exactly the coin I wanted because there’s two of us.”

“So heads for go and tails for stay?” I asked. He nodded and in one swift motion flipped the coin. In that moment, I felt myself saying, “Heads heads heads heads HEADS…” The coin landed head-side up and we both grinned with relief. We’d both wanted it to be heads. No idea why we even bothered with the coin toss in that case, but I guess sometimes you just want something tangible to pin your decisions on.

Then the next question was, “Where to?” We had no specific idea, only the sense that we should head north. That is no light decision for we only have a tent, not a caravan, and the wet season approaches, with the first serious rains to start around October. Laura, Cape Tribulation, Home Rule… those were just a couple of places that came up in our heads. We were just following the feeling.

We started packing up. Didn’t take long. We have so little possessions that we were done in practically under an hour. We ferried the unessential items for the night over to the Mourilyan Harbour car park where our ute is parked, and dropped by the local shop to let a friend of the boat’s owner know that we were on our way.

Tomorrow, we leave at first light.

This time, I leave with the extra knowledge of the experience of the past two months.

When I first started on this journey, I’d never done anything like this before. I’d known that I wanted to try to live as simply as possible but “simple” is relative to what you are used to and I think such a thing needs to be approached in stages. Well, I did anyway, without even intending to.

What I learned as the weeks passed is that I needed less and less of what I thought I did when I started out.

Now, I have a chance to start again and try again with the new benchmark that I’ve learnt and I’m eager for our first stop-over at our storage shed tomorrow, where we will be sifting through our belongings with ever more precision and storing away the unessentials for when we decide to “settle down” again.

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Joy…

One thing that this trip has definitely taught me is joy and appreciation of the smallest and simplest things.

During these past two months of driving through the outback of western Queensland, we camped at many national parks that didn’t have any shower facilities. So we just went without showers for a week at a time, relying only on nightly wipe downs with a damp cloth.

I’m not sure if we stank but seeing as we avoided people most of the time anyway, I doubt it mattered! We definitely couldn’t tell!

At the end of each week, we would check into the nearest caravan park to partake of their shower and laundry facilities for a night or two.

Oh the sheer delight of having a hot shower, after you’ve been doing without for days, is indescribable. Even if it had to be a very brief hot shower, as we had to be very careful of water usage in the outback. Some places enforced time limits on hot water usage.

That joy with the little things has carried over till now.

There’s no hot shower on this boat. We are lucky that the coast guard here at the Mourilyan Harbour maintain a gold coin donation hot shower facility. It is a simple facility, nothing fancy. The toilet paper is damp. The light bulb hasn’t worked in days. It’s pitch black dark in there when you close the door in broad daylight. There’s no place to put your things, only a row of small hooks. But to me now? It’s got a shower head and hot water. Fit for a king. Couldn’t ask for anything more.

We potter ashore in the tinny once every other day for a hot shower and it is as delightful as ever.

There are other things too.

Shelter from the elements. Sunrises and sunsets. The pleasure of being on the open road with the wind in our hair. Spotting a white-bellied sea eagle or eastern osprey together and sharing the binoculars to observe the eastern osprey return to its nest with fish to feed its growing chicks.

I must admit that all this is made all the more delightful for having someone akin in spirit to myself to share it with. It wouldn’t have been the same otherwise.

Simply being with ‘another person’ or ‘others’ or ‘people’ is not the same. I find that delight is amplified only when individuals share a common ideology and strive to live to the same principles. Otherwise there is the most unpleasant clash of ideas and thoughts that diminishes the pleasure and detracts from the moment.

We drove to Bingil Bay and Mission Beach the other day. We stopped at Woolworths and bought ourselves crackers, cheese, salami and lemonade. We pulled up at the start of the Bicton Hill circuit track of Clump Mountain National Park for a picnic.

We forgot to bring cutlery and only had my little multi-tool kit. The blade was… “Blunter than the head of my ****,” exclaimed Colin. So we hacked at the cheese and sawed through the salami and massacred the lot. We piled the carnage on our crackers and had a jolly good time laughing at our silliness.

Afterwards we decided to go exploring on the rocky beach. The waters were receding to an epic low tide that was due to turn in two hours and we spent that time simply marvelling at all the multi-coloured rocks, corals and living creatures exposed in the sun. I wanted to see a blue-ringed octopus and Colin didn’t. We skipped from rock to boulder, giggling as we wobbled from loose rock to boulder.

We were like kids in a candy store, picking up colourful rock after colourful rock, then putting them all back exactly where we picked them up from. We watched a tiny hermit crab get rolled around like a little beach ball by the waves.

As soon as the tide was due to turn, we strolled back to the car and took a hearty swig of lemonade. It was still cold and oh so refreshing.

I should be feeling guilty. I should be thinking, I’m wasting all this time, I’m not being productive or responsible. I should be worried about my finances, my future.

Yet my question is, “Why should I be?” I believe it is the other way around. I believe it is those who are trapped in the unending self-destructive maya {illusion} of the modern world who should be asking themselves the question, “Why am I suffering? Is my suffering real? Is it an essential reality? Or a created reality? What is real? And what is not? What do I choose? What have I created? Why do I suffer?”

I have found joy in the little things and the more I follow this path, the more I realise that my heart has always been correct. The path I took before was wrong. The path of the material is not mine. I-am-not-that. I find a life lived closer to the natural world, with simple wants and simple needs, to be the life that I choose and know to be right for myself.

My joy tells me so.

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Dreams…

The sun is setting behind the hills, casting a warm glow all around. The bright verdant green of day mellows and stark white trunks transform into palettes of rose and purple.

I am up on the deck of the boat, savouring the silence. Not that it is silent. The friar bird is doing his vocal scales. He practices every evening without fail. The welcome swallows chirp and chatter around me as they dive and swerve around the boat, skimming the water’s surface in a dance of play. More unidentified birds call from the treetops that I have not yet learned. It is a joyous cacophony, pleasant and peaceful.

I sit and marvel at my inner peace. Since embarking on this trip, I have felt this more and more.

I am at my happiest when alone out in the bush, surrounded only by the natural denizens of the wild. The only company I keep is Colin and he has been my rock and joy.

Away from people. Away from the chaotic demands and expectations of modern life. Income. Career. Success. Even purpose.

At first, I was confused. Was I lazy? An escapist? In denial? Deluded? Jaded?

This is not asked as the opinions of others, but rather as my own understanding of my self. I have to make up my own damn mind about who and what I am to be. Or what I am.

I’ve had ample time to ponder the seemingly disastrous trajectory of my life. Until I realised that it was not disastrous. It was a matter of fact. It was bound to happen. Because I was never being true to what I truly wanted.

I was only a young child when I first stated aloud that I was born into the wrong time, wrong country, wrong culture. I was very confident of that. I had no evidence. My parents probably dismissed my ramblings as the fantastic delusions of a child desiring to escape responsibility and duty.

I was only a young child when one day I looked up yet again to see my father come home after another long day at the office. He used to leave the house at seven in the morning, and come home at seven in the evening. I watched him and silently in my head I said, “Is this life? Is this what I’m going to grow up to be? A robot? Trapped and bound to a job eight to twelve hours a day and having no time for my own pursuits except for evenings and weekends?” It made no sense to me. Life was for senseless suffering, it appeared. Life was entrapment.

I hated school But I hated growing up more. I hated school with a passion but I was also extremely conscious of the fact that after having spent over a decade in school, I knew its rules well. I hated it but I could survive in it because I knew my place.

I knew adulthood was not going to be as easy.

I approached my twentieth year with much trepidation. I hated the fact that soon I would have to get a job. Work like everyone else. What made it worse was that I didn’t even know what job I could do, much less wanted to do. I still don’t! I’ve never fitted into this work life society, where everyone has their place in the robotic work mill of conformity.

I tried nonetheless. I had no choice. There was nowhere to go, nowhere to flee to.

It shouldn’t have been such a mystery but now I can easily see how depression and suicide ideation has dogged my every waking moment since I was a teen.

I disagree with everything that comprises and drives modern life. Even entrepreneurship, which I dedicated nearly seven years of my life to pursuing, in the hopes that I could create a life for myself that would meet both my requirements and the requirements of society. To fit in, if only marginally. To be half-and-half. To try to be true to myself while placating the expectations of modern culture.

I cannot. I have tried and have only received despair, hopelessness and ostracism as a result. No one can be half-and-half and be authentic at the same time. No one can fully perfect trying to blend into a culture you inherently reject.

Some may accuse me of not trying hard enough but I say judge not until you have walked a mile, or a hundred, in another’s shoes. Some may say I am delusional, or that I’m choosing a negative mindset but knowing that you are different and do not fit in is not negativity. It is reality. And ultimately, honest pragmatism.

Yet others may say that I should try harder to change. Why should I try to change who I am? I’ve tried for over three decades and it has brought me nothing but hell. Why should I try even harder to be something I want not?

I’m no longer afraid of being different. Of being alone and away from people. I have few friends and like it that way. I rarely enjoy human company. I would rather have animals and plants as friends.

I have never been happy around people. Since I was a child, I referred to people as “humans”. I do try to remember not to these days. It elicits startled and confounded looks. I understand. After all I look human, right? Well, I look it but I sure don’t know how to get it. Modern humanity anyway.

The desires of humanity confound me. The content of conversation and media baffle me. Humanity claims to be the most intelligent species but honestly, anyone looking in from the outside will say that if we are intelligent, surely it is intelligence towards destruction, of ourselves and everything within our reach! We are intelligent enough to speak but all we do is twist words and lie to one another and even ourselves.

I do not and cannot absolve myself of the same. For I have been brought up the same way. I surely had perfected the art of lying to myself for years and years. I use products too that come in plastic containers. I do buy food from massive corporations like Coles and Woolworths. I get about in a car that burns fossil fuels. And I ask why. And I ask how.

Not for humanity, no, but for myself. I understand how I came to be this way. Now I want to know what I can do to slowly disentangle myself from this way of life, if it is at all possible. And if so, how?

I know now what I want and it is to return to land. The basics. David Suelo has done it. So have some others. I’m not claiming that I’ll be able to. I’m not even claiming that I’m going to go moneyless, just because I mention Suelo.

But his decisions regarding money and lifestyle has given me food for thought, and has made me wonder if and how I may create for myself a life that is true to my own principles, as he has to his, even as I am constantly discovering, or rediscovering in many cases, what my principles are at all.

I have never felt as at peace. With myself, my choices to date and life in general. In this state, I know no anger for I understand now my anger to be a helplessness against the falseness I felt forced to live. The conformity I felt I had to endure because it was the “right” thing to do. The right thing by society’s standards. Definitely not the right thing for me, my health, heart and soul.

I’m going rogue and I’m fearing and loving it all at once. This road may lead me to places of great trial and suffering. But I know I can no longer turn back. I can no longer return to the life I led. No, not life. It was not a life that I had. It was an undeath. A pretence of life, crafted around falsities and illogical desires of success and material possession. Social standing even.

When I was a teen, I read deeply of Siddharta Gautama’s life. I read the words of mystics of ages long past. And I always felt a calling in that direction. A giving up of attachments. If I were able to articulate it then, I would have replied, “Mystic,” to anyone that asked, “What would you like to be when you grow up?” For mysticism is freedom.

I read of the lives of native peoples like the First Nations of the Americas and the Aboriginal peoples of Australia and alway felt more in common with that than modern life.

Now I am rediscovering my true dreams from my childhood. For years, I’d been speaking of freedom. Now I finally understand what I even meant. Freedom was the word I chose to represent that wordless calling within. Now I remember what the calling was. Sort of. Kind of. It will always be vague because it is always an unfolding. A discovery. A creation.

I am learning how to choose and live a balance between the gifts and ills of modern life, and the principles of the old ways of living.

The sun has set. I’m surrounded in darkness. I’m giving thanks for the modern invention of insect repellent for the wind has died and the sandflies are here in full force. Cicadas hum in the trees now. The birds have gone to sleep. The water is still and black as ink, broken by the occasional vigorous splash of a fish.

Not far away, the unending hum of machinery drifts across the water from the harbour, where tonnes of sugar await transportation in the next tanker to arrive. We have seen two huge tankers come and go already. Men appear as gnats upon their decks. The sugar they can hold and transport, inconceivable. I have sugar in my mug of hot chocolate that I am sipping right now.

Modern conveniences and delights are an addiction that will not be so easily given up, methinks.

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Life…

Two months and two weeks ago, another chapter of my life came to a close and a new one began.

I no longer claim to know where I am going, for in truth, I know not. All I know is that I have to follow the silent, wordless, modern-human-logic-less siren call and song of my heart.

I now know that the call of the soul is not a directionless call. The unknown depths of the mind-heart-spirit tirelessly collects and processes all our thoughts, hopes, wants and dreams and filters out the false and emphasizes truthful alignment.

It is that purified call to alignment, I now believe, that comprises the call of the spirit. It is not something that human logic can understand, much less articulate even to ourselves. For I have observed that many of the things-of-alignment that happen, often make little to no sense to us in the moment itself, until much time has passed and we are granted the gift of perspective from afar.

Three months ago, I was in Melbourne, and I was in misery. It was not so much the cold that got to me, though that was what I claimed aloud to those who asked. No, cold was the simple answer, the convenient untruth. For many are not interested to hear the truth of the deep revelations that guide and tug at my seemingly directionless life.

I saw “modern civilisation” in Melbourne and it scarred me. It is everything I am not. It represents everything my principles cannot accept. I saw wanton wanting, material obsessions and endless unhappiness and misery to those ends.

I see life as a series of… abandonments, not as collections. I see life as a process of deciding what-is-I and what-is-not-I and dropping and leaving the former and claiming and embracing the latter with ever more determined clarity. Even if it may be controversial. Even if it goes against the norm.

Life is a series of puzzles, I believe. From deep and early childhood, yes indeed, all the way to one’s present day, our siren soul is calling, calling, presenting to us pieces of the puzzle that stand out like strident calls. “Look at me! You-are-I-am! I-am-you! See me! Hear me!” But it makes no sense to us! It doesn’t make any sense!

Ah, now there is the clue itself. Like The Doctor says, “We asked the wrong question.” The question should not have been, “What is the answer?” It should have been, “Why does it not make any sense?” For we are responsible.

I never made any sense of the many, many puzzle pieces that came to my hand over the years for I was in two-halves. I was not I. I was many and the many were false. They were fake and I did not know it. For they guided my hand and blinded my senses. I thought I knew what was true and I did not. I had not dropped my illusions yet. In all probability, I will be saying that till my dying day!

So now I sit on a boat on the waters of Mourilyan Harbour awaiting where this journey will take me to next. We have reached a minor pitstop and the time has come for yet another decision to make. Where do we go from here? What do we do? What will be our truth now? Where is the most authentic step to make?

I think with my heart and the heart does not think like the brain, the mind. It does not think in steps. It does not think in logic, though in truth, the logic-less of the heart makes far more logical sense in the long-term than the short-term human-programmed ideals of logic ever does!

I wait. I “think”.

And in the meantime, I give thanks for the moments that pass me by.

Another raft of mangrove leaves rushing out to see… the endless possibilities of the ocean. The Brahminy Kite, as it soars above the rafts, looking for its fish. The Welcome Swallows that daily come by our toilet to check if it is prime real estate for moving in and building its nest in the shelving. The wind that blows…

Life.